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Old 09-10-2006, 04:02 PM   #1
alikerimbey OP
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Holiday Snaps - Morocco

Here are some holiday snaps from a trip to Morocco last May. The trip was across France and through La Jonquera, Lorca and Tarifa Spain and Rabat, Essaouira, Sidi Ifni, Bou Rbia, Ouarzazat, Er Rachidia, Chechaouen and Nador Morocco. It was a solo trip of 7000 km in 13 days.

La Jonquera is a border town just inside Spain from France. It is primarily a truck stop town, although there is a nice old town off the main road. Hotel La Frontera had the best neon and reasonably secure motorcycle parking.







Tarifa Spain is famous for a crazy wind that attracts kite surfers, hippies, and kite surfing hippies - lots of white guys with dreadlocks and dogs on string. Not him though.



View of Africa from above Tarifa across the Straight of Gibralter.




I took a ferry across the Straight the next morning. I was detained at Moroccan customs for a couple of hours while my documents were checked. Eventually I was asked if I had a pistol, answered "Why, do I need one here?", and was sent on my way. I tried to buy a map at the first gas station (silly me) and was laughed at and told to try the tourist area around the ferry terminal. I found a tourist shop that had a map and the nice shop owner was the first of many many people to ask if I wanted to buy some hash.

Friendly waiter at a restaurant on the Atlantic coast.




I spent my first night in Morocco at the art deco Hotel Balima in the capital city of Rabat.





Hotel Balima had reasonably secure parking as well. For the most part, the only motors bigger than these in Morocco are the police BMW F650s.




Dr. Elayati in the beach town of El Jadida is a man of many talents, and probably makes a good cup of coffee as well.




The Atlantic Ocean south of Essouira.




Fresh grilled sardines for lunch in Taghazoui. They are served without utensils, so the Moroccans use their fingers (right hand).


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Old 09-10-2006, 04:18 PM   #2
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Sidi Ifni is a former Spanish colonial outpost.




It is best known for its decaying 1930s Spanish art deco architecture. This is the former Spanish government building.




There are a number of great art deco villas around town, including this sea-view home in the shape of a ship.



Other faded gems.








A few of the buidings had benefited from a fresh coat a paint.







More Moorish than deco.


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Old 09-10-2006, 05:06 PM   #3
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So far its very good I hope there is more to come. Its a shame the art deco buildings are so run down a coat of paint would work wonders.
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Old 09-10-2006, 05:21 PM   #4
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I enjoy every single Morocco ride report and this one is looking good

Keep it coming
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Old 09-10-2006, 05:28 PM   #5
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Before heading into the Sahara, I made a new friend in Guelmime.



Direction Tata. This was a fine road, although it was shown as a dotted line on some of my maps.




At Foum Zguid, I decided to take another dotted line road 120 km to Zagora. It was about 5 pm and, although the road wasn't sealed, it also seemed fine.

The fast section.




Then, after about 25 kilometers, there was a detour and the road began to deteriorate. This stony desert is called "hamada".




Since the detour, I had only come across one other person, a berber "blue man" in his tent, and the road was getting worse and it was starting to get dark. I was preparing to spend the night out, when I saw a few buildings in the distance. It was a little settlement called Bou Rbia, and a kind man named Lahcen Zine saw me approach, greeted me, and offered to let me spend the night with him and his family. He said that it was 60 km to Zagora, so I would not have made it.






We drank tea, Lahcen showed me some geodes and crystals that he had collected in the desert and then photos of other overland travellers who had stayed with him. Eventually, the women left the room and the men and boys ate couscous from a communal plate. I was offered to sleep in the main room, but opted instead for the guest tent outside Lahcen's home.

The next morning, Lahcen offered me breakfast of tea and fried bread, and I repaid him for his hospitality with many thanks, EUR 20 and a Swiss Army knife that I had. After servicing the bike and a few photos of his family, he escorted me to the piste on his moped and pointed the way.













The track to Zagora was stony desert mixed with sand and deep sand. I wasn't sure whether to air down for the sand and risk punctures on the stones, or keep the tire pressure up and do my best in the sand. I opted for the latter and must have dropped the bike at least 5 times. These things get pretty heavy to pick up after a while, and it was a fairly challenging morning.



Unfortunately, the next fall killed my camera, so that is the last photo of the trip.

I eventually made it to Zagora and then carried on to Ouarzazat, where I recovered from my morning in a spa hotel with pool, sauna and massage. Then it was across flooded roads to Er Rachidia, north to Chechauen, down to the wild Mediterranean coast, across the marijuana fields in the Rif Mountains to Nador, and then a ferry back to Spain and home.

Moroccans are extremely friendly. Almost everyone speaks French and many speak English. There are the usual hassles with self-appointed fixers at the borders, but they can actually be helpful. You will also be approached in cafes and restaurants by more or less charming Moroccans wanting to befriend you. If you go into someone's shop, you may be offered tea followed by a very clever hard sell.

There are lots of police with radar in the north, although less as you get farther south. There are also many police controls where you may be stopped for a document check, usually followed by a chat about where you are from, where you are going, whether you like Morocco, is it your first time in the county, would you like a cigarette or a piece of fruit, etc. Charming country and fabulous people.

Thanks for looking.

Cheers.

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Old 09-10-2006, 07:30 PM   #6
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Beautiful ride report. I hope to one day travel, with or without motorcycle, to these Arabian countries.
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Old 09-11-2006, 02:29 AM   #7
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Super ride report! I was in Morrocco a few years ago, but with public transport - I would like to go back on a bike. It's a nice country.

You covered a pretty fair distance in 13 days - how many hours of riding did you do a day?
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Old 04-12-2007, 06:05 AM   #8
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Just found your report !
Great one.
Alone with the loaded beast. bravo !

(french)Mille Mercis pour ces belles photos.(/french)

/thierry
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:21 PM   #9
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I've only just seen this report.

Small world, i also got stuck on the piste from Foum Zguid to Zagora, on exactly the same road, back in jan 06.

Ride report here = http://www.ukgser.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63379










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Old 04-13-2007, 01:33 AM   #10
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Nice one Steptoe. I've seen ur report last year before my trip to morocco.
U guys are very often in Morocco ! ;)
Saw that Master Cullis is, right now.
I'll be looking for UK bikes in May when I'll be here myself.
/thierry
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Old 04-13-2007, 01:53 AM   #11
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Nice report
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Old 04-13-2007, 11:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kktos
Nice one Steptoe. I've seen ur report last year before my trip to morocco.
U guys are very often in Morocco ! ;)
Saw that Master Cullis is, right now.
I'll be looking for UK bikes in May when I'll be here myself.
/thierry
Just back from maroc, returned on the 10th April.
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:00 PM   #13
alikerimbey OP
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Thierry: Merci pour le "bump".

Steptoe: Cheers. We had just about identical experiences, and both of us were riding solo. I see that you hit Foum Zguid in the afternoon and thought you would have an easy ride to Zagora in time to find a nice hotel for the night. I also see that you were surprised by the deteriorating road, and that you suffered with the sand. Yes, that was me too.

The piste between Foum Zguid and Zagora is referenced in Chris Scott's book, Sahara Overland, although I didn't know that at the time. I would think that track is a good introduction to riding the Sahara -- the sand is tricky enough to catch you out, but not so deep that you will get stuck and have to dig out. Also, it is almost impossible to get lost because you follow the valley, but it is a sufficiently remote area to be interesting. And the mint tea in Zagora is sweet after that little trip.
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:10 AM   #14
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Hi

I don't know what to think about riding alone in those areas, it's brave or crazy, anyway it's your life.
I spent a night in Foum Zguid in October, this time we had taken the track south from Mamhid, ( height years ago we took the same track as you but on the opposite direction ). In the onlyone guest house of Foum Zguid wa saw an Honda transalp fully crashed on this track, the injuries was not so huge for the guy but he returned in Germany by plane.
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:26 PM   #15
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I worked in Morocco in 1983, a few weeks in Casablanca and then over two months in Agadir, the southern most city in Morocco.

While I was in Agadir the Dakar Rally had a stop there one night, very cool experience seeing the night time prepping for the next day. 35mm pictures are buried somewhere.

I was a helicopter mechanic/crew-chief and got to fly over alot of the Sahara and into the Berber Mountains, it would be a great thing to go back and ride in the same area.

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